Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine

Photo courtesy of The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism.

Leaflets ordering Jews in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee. Photo courtesy of The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

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(RNS) Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media. Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website. Donetsk is the site of an “anti-terrorist” operation by the Ukraine government, which has moved military columns into the region to force out militants who are demanding a referendum be held on joining Russia. The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the report. Pushilin acknowledged that flyers were distributed under his organization’s name in Donetsk, but denied any connection to them, Ynet reported in Hebrew. Emanuel Shechter, in Israel, told Ynet his friends in Donetsk sent him a copy of the leaflet through social media. “They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flyer and told them to obey its instructions,” he said. The leaflet begins, “Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,” and states that all people of Jewish descent over 16 years old must report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and “register.” It says the reason is because the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta, a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement that fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, “and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk,” a name adopted by the militant leadership. The leaflet then described which documents Jews should provide: “ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles.” Consequences for non-compliance will result in citizenship being revoked “and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property.” A registration fee of $50 would be required, it said. Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk, told Ynet she never experienced anti-Semitism in the city until she saw this leaflet. “We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists,” she said. “The text reminds of the fascists in 1941,” she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II. Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it’s unclear if the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp. But the Russian side has used the specter of anti-Semitism in a cynical manner since anti-government protests began in Kiev that resulted in the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia and its allies in Ukraine issued multiple stories about the the threat posed to Jews by Ukraine’s new pro-Western government in Kiev, Salberg said. Those stories were based in part on ultra-nationalists who joined the Maidan protests, and the inclusion of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party in Ukraine’s new interim government. But the threat turned out to be false, he said. Svoboda’s leadership needs to be monitored, but so far it has refrained from anti-Semitic statements since joining the government, he said. And the prevalence of anti-Semitic acts has not changed since before the Maidan protests, according to the ADL and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, which monitors human rights in Ukraine. Distributing such leaflets is "a recruitment tool to appeal to the xenophobic fears of the majority, to enlist them to your cause and focus on a common enemy, the Jews,” Salberg said. And by targeting Donetsk’s Jews, they also send a message to all the region’s residents, Salberg said. “The message is a message to all the people that is we’re going to exert our power over you,” he said. “Jews are the default scapegoat throughout history for despots to send a message to the general public: Don’t step out of line.” (Oren Dorell writes for USA Today.)  

15 Responses to “Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine”

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  2. Michele Joseph

    I know you are, Denis. I love you, too Nick, this whole thing is a misery.
    I remember, from my visit, so many years ago, the incident in which I saw the incident, the tattoo that proclaimed her right to hate “the number that revealed her tattoo.’
    I could puke.
    The good people that God intended for us to love, demand for us to love.
    Please God, I understand for you to love us all.
    You misunderstand, without us loving uou, our role in misunderstanding us.
    God has promised us nothing.
    Instead, it is understood to be wihin the understanding of our heads understardeds and the work
    of our hands

  3. Denis Eble

    We are humble. Imagine that! I’m trying to.

  4. Michele Joseph

    “we are humble” ?
    Google “Top Ten Most Arrogant Countries in The World”
    We are – as we think we are in every other respect- # 1.
    We’re # 1 ! We’re # 1 !
    U.S.A. ! U.S.A. !
    It’s what’s meant by “the ugly American”
    And- to recognize that we have faults- and to realize what they are
    does not mean we hate our country.
    Unless you think we should think we’re perfect- which is arrogant.
    As for bigotry- only a few bigots ?
    It depends on what you think bigotry is.
    If you think your race, religion ( ahem), sexual orientation, gender,political party,
    occupation, nationality (ahem) , ethnicity, etc. is better than the rest- you are a bigot.
    If there is one among you who has not sinned, let him cast the first stone.
    We are a nation of bigots.
    We have great diversity, so there is always somebody to look down upon.
    American exceptionalism is bigotry.
    Denis is right- it’s hard-wired.

  5. nick batt

    What makes America the Land of the Free is not that there have been no episodes of prejudice but that we are humble enough to admit our failures and make amends. If there are “thousands of overt bigots” in America today (and I doubt that) that’s a pretty small slice of a population of 300,000,000. Those who hate our country can only demean it by comparing us to our ideals. Not by comparing us with other countries.

  6. Denis Eble

    Right here in “land of the free” there are many thousands of overt bigots who don’t hide their hatred. Why would we be surprised that such people exist in Eastern Europe? I suggest that in every society today, subgroups within are constantly picked on.

    There must be some meme inherent in humans that alerts us to the ‘other.’ Perhaps this was a survival instinct during our primitive past because the ‘other’ was after our food. Thus it becomes a throwback that we must deal with in a civilized society.

  7. Michele Joseph

    That’s so true, Zappa. As you pointed out, David, I see that the story did
    mention thar it was unclear where the leaflets came from.
    However, my mind stopped comprehending between the second & third
    paragraph. I just felt powerless and just didn’t want to hear it, it’s just too horrifying.
    As Kerry said, it’s “grotesque” and something apparently designed to produce shock, confusion, panic & denial.
    I suppose you could say that it’s terrorism.
    I hope that the members of the Jewish community there ( for whom it must be
    infintely worse) can meet this with calm & confidence & serenity, although I can’t imagine how.
    My prayers are with them.

  8. Zappa912

    Unfortunately, it does not take much to stir up the horrific memories of the Nazi agenda and persecution of the Jews (in the Ukraine), or violence directed against Jews (recent attack at the synagogue and JCC in Kansas City). The events of the past week are doing that again. Let us hope these are just momentary isolated incidents that will pass quickly and be punished appropriately. Let us pray for understanding and peace among people of all faiths, or no faith at all.

  9. David Yonke

    The story points out that it is unclear who issued these ‘orders’ except that they were masked men claiming to represent the temporary government. There is much confusion and disorder in Ukraine at the moment and the perpetrators appear to be taking advantage of the chaos to promote their toxic agenda.

  10. Michele Joseph

    BREAKING NEWS : My son just walked in and I asked him if he knew about it, and he said that it turned out that it was not the government, but a group of neo-nazis trying to scare the Jews.
    Good instincts, Denis ! I accepted it as truth from first read. But, I’m kind of a sad sack that way.

  11. Michele Joseph

    I hope it’s not true,too. But, earlier, I was thinking that they need to get the hell out of there. Just as they did before-so fast they leave half-eaten food on the table.

  12. Michele Joseph

    How come, Denis ?

    • Denis Eble

      Why? Because it would be unbelievable (to me) that this sort of thing would be happening in 2014. I don’t mean that such stupidity does not exist, but I hope that no Jew even thinks about ‘complying’ with the ‘order.’

  13. Denis Eble

    I’m skeptical about the veracity of this story.

  14. nick batt

    I’ve seen this movie before. I don’t like the ending.

Comments are closed.